Finding information about companies -- especially small, local companies -- can be difficult. There is no, one source that can answer every question. Instead, it will require the use of both Internet sources and library databases. The steps on this page can help you get started with your research by suggesting some basic databases you can use to located information about your company/business and its business environment. You can then use the resources on the following pages to continue your research.
If you have any questions, contact your librarian. My information is in the left-hand column. Also, I've included a link to an online book that provides suggestions for doing local business research.
Let's get started.
Research on Main Street by Marcy Phelps; Mary Ellen Bates (Foreword by)In today's global economy, businesses need targeted, localized information about customers, companies, and industries, but adding the element of geography to any search topic--especially for counties, cities, census blocks, or any other substate areas--makes any project more challenging. Aimed at tackling these issues head-on, this guide offers free and low-cost options for using the web to find business and market information about various places, usually on the substate geographic level. Revealing how to use local sources for more in-depth research into people, companies, and national issues, this resource offers a manageable structure for how to approach this type of research, key resources, and practical solutions to specific questions. Each chapter includes valuable "Tips from the Pros," short sections spotlighting expert researchers' advice for finding information about local demographics, economies, companies, people, and issues. A companion website can be found at www.ResearchOnMainStreet.com.
Publication Date: 2011-04-01
First, find your NAICS Code
The NAICS (North American Industrial Classification System) Code is used by the U.S. Government to gather and disseminate information about industries. There are a couple different ways to find a NAICS code.
If you already know a company you are researching, look them up in one of the library's company directories. The NAICS code will be provided in a company details section or an industry details section.
Second, Use the Company Directories to find more information
Both Mergent Intellect and Nexis Uni can provide more information about the company and the industry. Try looking through the tabs across the top (Mergent) or on the side (Nexis) to see what other information may be available.
Company and industry profiles, SWOT reports, and market share and financial reports covering consumer goods, energy, financial services, healthcare, technology, telecoms, e-commerce, and human resources.
Fourth, look up articles in local news sources
Use these tools to find information about your company and the local business environment in local news sources.
Full text news from national and international sources including specific information about local companies, politics, sports, industries and culture.
Fifth, look up articles in trade magazines and journals
Use the library's databases to look up articles and industry news in trade publications. Whether it's Ratchet+Wrench for auto repair or Supermarket News for grocery stores, these publications can help you collect current information about the state of the business. Use the NAICS code you found in Step 1 to limit by industry.